Doncaster withdraw from 2021 Challenge Cup
The Dons are among seven League 1 clubs to have withdrawn from the competition due to the revised schedule for 2021 – which has been pushed back again as a result of the latest lockdown.
Third tier sides Barrow, Keighley and West Wales will be the only clubs from outside the Super League and Championship to take part in this year’s tournament.
An RFL statement said: “Given the unique circumstances of 2021, and with such a lengthy period between the early Challenge Cup rounds and the start of their league season, entry to the Challenge Cup was made optional for the 10 Betfred League 1 clubs, with the RFL stressing the importance of public health and financial considerations.
“The majority remained keen to enter, but that would have required an additional, preliminary round on March 14 – which led to the withdrawal of all bar Barrow, Keighley and West Wales, who will now complete a First Round of 16 clubs.”
The League 1 season has now been put back until the weekend of May 8-9, allowing an 18-round season before the play-offs.
Doncaster had previously been expecting to start their season in the Challenge Cup on the first weekend of March, and the Championship was pencilled in to start in late February, but the latest lockdown forced the RFL into a re-think.
The first round of the Challenge Cup will now take place on March 21 and the Championship will start on April 2-4.